Written by Minorwork
Editor’s note: due to a technical snafu this post may not have made it to the front page here at LTS. So we decided to re-post it.
Science is a crude invention. Quit reading and go out and do it. You’ll find out.
Does it help determine in a half hour phone call whether or not to bail a daughter from jail? Or how many days to let her stay there? Three nights but not determined by science.
Economists, and geologists in the mine, are scientists in their respective fields. Both are good at telling why there was a fall but not so good at preventing it.
Does science help decide whether and when a son is to accelerate his fathers dying process?
What has the scientific method determined is the best way or even if to tell a brother his daughter is not his?
And can a person apply science’s methods on whether to advise, or not, a grandfather making his will as to which is his blood grandchildren?
Science is crude because it has no jurisdiction in areas of life. Hell, how many are able to live without knowing what constitutes the scientific method?
Why is there something rather than nothing? Didn’t have that in physics or chemistry.
Consciousness then. I forget what class covered its formation, structure, and classifications much less its contents.
Can science tell me what in the hell my wife was thinking when she blew up our car’s engine after continuing to drive, and faster at that, with no oil pressure? Please science, help.
What is the correct scientifically engineered method to nullify religious fanaticism?
Here’s the most practical justification for calling it crude.
I’ve pursued science and engineering in school and used, of necessity its methods for arriving at truth with practical problems on the job at the coal mine. I’ve found it my last choice to use in troubleshooting. Many other methods are superior by reason of time involved in their application compared to the scientific method. The scientific method is slow and crude in application when there are faster and more precise troubleshooting techniques available. For example:
Face boss runs up and tells me to get my tools the miner is down. What would the scientific method have me do? Question. Why doesn’t the miner come on when I press the start button? Educate. Consider the electrical schematic. Hypothesize. Wire has burnt in two, switch not closing, faulty hold in coil, bunch of other stuff. Test. Walk 4 crosscuts to the power center and lock and tag out the miner cable. Return to the miner and open up explosion proof panels (15 bolts each) on both sides of the miner to gain access to test points and start metering circuits. 30 minutes of testing fails several times to find a fault and finally a test reveals the stop button is open. The current must flow thru it to hold in the run circuit. Open it and the hold-in coil is de-energized thus cutting power to the pump motor. SUCCESS. Fix the stop button and close up the miner. Check the explosion proof covers with a .004 inch feeler gauge all around and it slides in. Take all the bolts back off and find a piece of dirt in the flamepath. Clean it and install door and recheck. Do the other panel door. Go back to the powerbox, unlock the plug of the miner cable, screw it back to the power receptacle. Pull the breaker on. It goes off with a bang and sparks. Son of a bitch. Do it again and it stays set. I’m the man. Get a paid lunch.
Two hours shot in the ass with the scientific method when one of the non-scientific methods would of got the problem fixed in less than 5 minutes at the most and still get a paid lunch. Science might get you the answer, but it is slow. Crude. No I’m not gonna’ tell the quick way. That’s job security and worth a lot in leverage.
I have to admit that the scientific method will get the job done eventually if the quicker methods fail or do not apply given that the problem is amenable to the constraints of the scientific method in the first place. I made my own conditions at the mine on my understanding of the scientific method but I didn’t like to use it and was always my last choice.
The everyday questions that haunt me in relationship issues with family is where science sings like a pig. Another reason that I call it crude. Science considers and is concerned with things that are placed within its reach by being measurable. But there are more things not capable of being measured than those that are. Lots of stuff in the world that can’t be measured. How long did I fantasize about Jessica Alba’s or her double’s performances in Sin City in 2006? How am I supposed to get that info today? Carbon dating?
In a narrow aspect from Newtonian mechanics, to spooky quantum entanglements and teleportations, the accomplishments of science would be magic of the highest sort if viewed from the perspective of 2000 years ago. But improving life span to 77 years or so is not doing much considering what was done without science in the 3.5 billion years leading up to one of its breakthroughs with Galileo’s outlandish, (in a time of truth determination by the best debater’s view), technique of contrived tests. Science has not been necessary to evolutionary development.
And then there are applied sciences. What does applied science even mean when psychology cannot squeeze itself thru the narrow door of real science without widening it with the sledgehammer of pharmacology?http://www.arachnoid.com/psychology/index.html
How convincing is science when only 32% of the public Think that humans, other living things have evolved due to natural processes. http://people-press.org/report/528/
Ive had a buttfull of this for now. Fun though.
Science is crude due to its slow, paced, application in getting to knowledge. It is the best method to determine truth if you cant use anything else and you can find an area in which it applies. Scientific theories are only theoretically 100% correct all the time until theyre proved wrong. Sciences limits are described in the engineers mantra Cheaper, better, faster. Pick two. Like the engineers mantra science has its limits and its applications are in a rather narrow field of endeavor in the human experience. The coal miner has no respect for the engineers mantra and is able to provide all three parameters in a solution. He is not bound by the scientific method alone. It is not only possible but preferable to avoid the scientific method. A crude invention.
I enjoyed this a lot. I remember arguing with a Science prof at a UU Church I used to go to in Bowling Green, KY who said Science could prove anything. I asked him to prove he loved his wife. “Well I lived with her for 30 years, slept with her and had kids.” I pointed out that there have been many loveless marriages just like that. Like many conversations we solved nothing, but had fun. I miss him.
Yes and no. Science tells us little about the quality of life and how, in individual cases, we should respond. But it will tell us the likelihood of survival and probably how painful it might be… though not how each individual might be able to bear such pain. The problem is there are those of faith who think their beliefs more important for everyone to follow no matter what Science tells us. I have little problem with them making such decisions: for themselves.
The best of Science is an individual’s right to logically merge Science, faith and intuition for themselves. The worst is shallow minded “apply equally to all with no exception” type thinking.
If not for Science some would still claim sailors fell off the edge of the Earth and claim it Satan’s work or demons when some report back they survived, or put them through a witch dipping. The worst of Science would have some test for “love” and make that the standard, or deny a leap of logic that actually creates a solution or cure.
They need each other. They really do. And as far as I’m concerned the war between the two is one of convenience for those who would rather fight than survive as a species.
Well, as far as this one, “And can a person apply science’s methods on whether to advise, or not, a grandfather making his will as to which is his blood grandchildren?” Yes, science can do that using DNA.
As to your wider points, it’s true that the intuition of an intelligent person if often quicker and more accurate than the plodding step-by-step scientific method, but that kind of intuition is usually based on years of experience and scientific knowledge of whatever job you’re doing.
It’s also true that science can not reliably quantify or predict human emotions as yet but, then, neither can anything else. Since these things are based on the firing of electro-chemical impulses in the brain, combined with an individual’s genetic make-up and past experiences, though, perhaps someday they will be easy to predict and explain by neurological scientists.
Psychology is mainly an art as well, but an art that, when done well, does work; it’s only the lower-end practitioners looking for the ‘magic bullet’ who depend heavily on drugs.
I’m all for scientists and engineers using their imaginations as well as the scientific method in their work, but keep in mind that the current crude and slow scientific method is really only a few hundred years old, practically an infant compared to the five million-year arc of human history, and it has proven itself often enough it’s worth keeping around. Unfortunately, absent the scientific method, human imagination by itself tends to lead us back to examining goat entrails and exorcising evil spirits while praying to ghost gods on the moon — you know, just like Wall Street investment bankers.
Whether to divulge the info to a dying man is the issue. A hard one too. Sure, DNA can tell. But it is not necessary if you know by other means. Knowledge can be had without science’s methods. The results of passing on of the info is based on emotions which, you point out, is beyond our present abilities to predict in fine details.
I do fear the day when those predictions can be made.
As to that broken heli-miner. The operator had cleverly concealed a small piece of coal behind the stop button, holding the contact open. Which, after his nap, he pointed out to me after I had all the panel covers off. This was only my second day as a repairman in a production unit and was pretty green. I knew the schematics and wiring diagrams by heart though and the scientific method pointed to the switch. As I said it had to be the switch, the operator came up and, walking over to the cab, said, “This might have something to do with it.” Many an operator of various machines after that would only get a few steps heading for their nap and get called back when I’d miraculously get their machine going in short order. That, too, turned into a negative technique as far as I was concerned and I learned to negotiate downtime out of the bosses hearing.
On the 5 million year history. I do think that science will be better able to organize and affect the epigenetic influences on the DNA code with much better control than the mythical techniques.
I tend to go with both Minor here and RS. Sure, Science can tell us the progress of a disease, any medical situation, but the finer points of life… Science probably can’t and I’m not sure I’d want it to. I think about Minority Report. I also think about the fact that what we should do in such delicate situations goes way beyond Science. Science can’t tell us that one person would rather be lied to and live out the rest of their days, what few there are, not knowing… or that a person would rather know and spend the rest of their time doing all they want or fighting it despite the chances, like my father did.
Then you have faith and intuition, which in some ways are the same. A scientist who is unwilling or unable to have a little faith, or use intuition, will probably never be able to interpret results or even be able to postulate a thesis.
I do agree that knowledge can be had without science’s methods, as long as you don’t include how we’ve gotten to where we are today. A sailor may be able to sense how the wind might shift but he ignores all we’ve learned through science about the wind, weather and sailing.
The problem comes when someone either believes science can be ignored and God will provide no matter what. If you believe in God, certainly God would want us to use our brains and the fruit of that gift, not ignore it? Then you have the science oriented people who approach science as if it were a religion. Because of Einstein and all we know now we think the speed of light will always be an impossible barrier. If we had approached the speed of sound or flight in the same manner we’d still be land-bound and a much slower: less developed society. Good science is always willing to consider the possibility of exceptions and that what we know now, or think we know, may very well be inaccurate and wrong. And good faith is also willing to consider the same regarding what we believe.
Yes, there are fundamentalists on both sides. To me it’s just that the religious ones are much more brutal and oppressive. They seem to feed off of ignorance, hate and fear. Given their own theology they are more like the evil they revile than the good they claim to worship.
Science and faith truly need each other. And we need all kinds of mixes between the two. We are far better off for our diversity than not, but only if we find more respect and less “accept what I believe… or else.”
Of all the good that science has given in medicine pain is most challenging because its not empirically derived. Spend enough time around the hospital, you’ll hear the nurse ask how much pain on the scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being unbearable. The expression of pain in the young and senile is a problem in its treatment.
These show progress on this problem, but it is not a precision engineering job of a building or bridge. The problem with determining pain and other conditions in infants and senile is similar to animals.
I’ve talked a little to an old football teammate about the problems of pain in animals. Bill is at the cusp in that field. He told me a cat in pain will not sleep but seem to be forever awake. The thinking is that it knows its not well and can not appear to be weak or it will become prey. A cat normally spends a good part of its day napping. He is retired now and roams the country lecturing. William Tranquilli